Kings bounce back in style with blowout win over Nuggets

Feb 9, 2024, 9:45 PM | Updated: 9:56 pm

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 22: De'Aaron Fox #5 and Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Ki...

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

After suffering their most frustrating loss of the season to the six-win Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, the Sacramento Kings needed to show signs of life on Friday night.

Facing the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets is always a tall task, but it became clear from the opening tip-off that the Kings had no intentions of repeating their performance from Wednesday.

Sacramento’s offense was firing on all cylinders as the Kings coasted to a 135-106 win over Denver in front of a capacity crowd at Golden 1 Center.

For the Kings, it was essential to prove that they could answer the bell and respond to adversity. As they have done on multiple occasions over the past season-plus, they did just that by delivering a laugher of a win before heading back on the road.

With the win, Sacramento (30-21) picked up its 30th win of the season while scoring 130+ points for the 12th time this season in what was one of–if not the–best performances we’ve seen from this group in 2023-24.

The Kings also jumped back into a top-six spot in the Western Conference standings thanks to the winning effort.

Kings vs. Nuggets Recap & Takeaways

The Bench Sets The Tone Early

It didn’t take long to realize that Malik Monk was going to have one of those games.

The Sixth Man of the Year candidate found his rhythm on offense as soon as he checked in to help ignite Sacramento’s second unit. Monk racked up 10 of his 12 first-half points as the Kings outscored Denver’s bench 27-13 during the first 24 minutes of action.

On the heels of a disappointing loss to the NBA-worst Detroit Pistons on Wednesday–a game that ended with boos from the crowd, much to Monk’s displeasure–Sacramento opened up Friday’s game with energy on both ends of the floor.

The offense was firing on all cylinders from the tip, with Monk, Domantas Sabonis (13 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists during the first half), and De’Aaron Fox (eight assists) leading the charge as the Kings took a 67-57 lead into the break.

Trey Lyles added seven points during the first half, while Sasha Vezenkov knocked down two early triples to give Sacramento a boost off the bench.

Turning on the Jets

If the Kings wanted to board their plane for Oklahoma City in good spirits, they would have to play a clean second half to hold off the defending champs–and that’s precisely what happened.

Sacramento immediately applied pressure to the Nuggets during the third quarter, especially on the defensive end, as they forced Denver into eight turnovers in the period.

As the Nuggets struggled to hold onto the basketball, the Kings’ offense kept moving full-steam ahead as Sacramento stretched its lead to 106-86 heading into the fourth quarter. The Kings seemingly couldn’t miss during the third, going 15-of-21 (71%) from the field while outscoring Denver 39-29 to take control for good.

Sacramento stretched its lead to a season-high 32 points during the third quarter, causing fans in attendance to start chanting ‘Light the beam’ with five minutes remaining as the Kings continued to pour it on the Nuggets.

The bench was huge in this one, with Malik Monk’s game-high 23 points (nine-of-13 shooting) and Trey Lyles’ 15 points and seven rebounds leading the way on a night that Sacramento posted a season-high 65 bench points.

“I thought our bench was fantastic,” head coach Mike Brown said of his second unit following the game. “It was a complete effort.”

Along with the play of the second unit, the Kings’ defense forced Denver into a season-high 21 turnovers while scoring 37 points off of those Nuggets mishaps.

De’Aaron Fox continued to rack up steals during the win as the star guard finished with five steals–his eighth-straight game with multiple steals, setting a new career-long for the seven-year veteran. Not only did Fox deliver on the defensive end but also on offense as he posted his third double-double of the season (his second against Denver this season).

Over just 28 minutes, Fox scored 15 points and dished out 10 assists, joining Domantas Sabonis as the only other player with double-digit assists on Friday night.

Sacramento got production out of each player that stepped on the floor during the win as seven players finished in double-figures while the team finished the game shooting 58 percent from the field and an impressive 17-of-34 (50%) from downtown.

It was a dominant effort from the Kings, who did a great job of controlling the damage of Wednesday’s loss to the Pistons by turning around and routing the reigning world champions.

As unpredictable as Sacramento may be, Friday’s win over the Nuggets acted as a stern reminder that this team is very dangerous when they’re at the top of their game.

Sabonis Keeps The Streak Alive

It didn’t take long for Domantas Sabonis to post his 34th consecutive double-double.

The three-time All-Star racked up his 47th double-double of the season (most in the NBA) before the end of the first half, and he didn’t stop there.

Sabonis finished the night with 17 points (seven-of-nine shooting from the field), 17 rebounds, and 10 assists over 31 minutes of action.

He might not be an NBA All-Star this season, but Sabonis continues to post stat-lines that have only been seen in recent memory by Jokic–the two-time NBA MVP that Sabonis was lined up against on Friday.

“People become numb to what he’s doing.” De’Aaron Fox said of his All-NBA teammate following the win. “It’s not easy at all.”


  • After going scoreless during Wednesday’s loss to Detroit, Keegan Murray bounced back with 17 points on 6/11 shooting over 27 minutes.
  • Sacramento outscored Denver 68-49 during the second half.
  • The Kings went 16-of-18 (88%) from the free-throw line during the win.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Who’s ready for some Super Bowl Sunday… basketball?

That’s right. Sacramento will hit the road for a three-game trip that will begin on Sunday with a matinee showdown against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Thunder coverage, beginning at 11:30 AM PST on Game Night before a 12:00 PM PST tip-off from Oklahoma City.

Upcoming Schedule

  • Sunday, February 11th – Sacramento Kings @ Oklahoma City Thunder – 12:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, February 13th – Sacramento Kings @ Phoenix Suns – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, February 14th – Sacramento Kings @ Denver Nuggets – 6:00 PM PST
  • NBA All-Star break – February 15-21
  • Thursday, February 22nd – Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs – 7:00 PM PST
  • Sunday, February 25th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Clippers – 6:30 PM PST

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